Actual Conversations With the Parents

Was talking to my mother on her cell a moment ago, and this conversation happened:

Me: So what about…


Mom: Hey- I have to go. We got new house phones and now dad and I are trying to figure out the intercom numbers.

Me: Ok. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Mom: Why tomorrow? Are you going to bed?

Me: No, I just know about you two and technology.

She laughed, because she knows when I am right (on those rare occasions when a kid is actually right and the parent is wrong). This is actually unfair, even though it is funny, because for 73 year olds, they are actually pretty good with tech and dad has been using computers since, well, hell, we had a C64 when they were a big deal. I think they actually had cell phones before I did, because I was one of those people who was horrified with the concept of people being able to contact me 24 hours of the day. I need time to formulate a lie about why I am not coming to your party/event/dinner/whatever, and having people able to call me whenever they want makes me have to up my game and think up excuses on the spot.

68 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Haha. Just you watch, tomorrow those house phones are going to be stranded in a field in the middle of nowhere.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    Will they figure it out or will you have to help them?

  3. 3
    cathyx says:

    I really want to refill my wine glass but I have my cat on my lap. I wonder if my daughter would do it?

  4. 4
    HRA says:

    It’s been 2 days of intense searching to find out why I cannot type on my wireless keyboard. A few hours ago, my youngest child text me back asking if I had changed the batteries on the keyboard. I did not even know it had batteries. (sigh) I can relate to your statement about parents and technology.

  5. 5

    I remember house phones.

  6. 6
    Baud says:


    Call her on the house phone intercom and ask.

  7. 7
    the Conster says:

    I REALLY miss my mother. No one loves you like your mother, and you only fully understand what that means until after she’s gone. Enjoy every idiosyncratic moment John, from someone who would pay any price to have such a conversation with their mother.

  8. 8
    cathyx says:

    @Baud: That wouldn’t work, she never answers the house phone. But I could text her.

  9. 9
    maven says:

    Why do they need intercom? Just yell at each other like most married couples.

  10. 10
    cathyx says:

    @HRA: Get a stylus.

  11. 11
    Baud says:


    Do it. You carried her for nine months. She owes you wine.

  12. 12
    cathyx says:

    @Baud: She owes me more than that. For the last month of pregnancy I had to sleep sitting up because I had the worst heartburn when I laid down. Now I can drink to relieve the heartburn. (no, not really, jk)

  13. 13
    Lolis says:

    John, Are you coming to Austin again in March? If so, you better start thinking up excuses right now about not having another meet up. We will be on your case.

  14. 14
    Baud says:


    I drink to relieve the heartache too.

    Oh, you said heartburn….Never mind.

  15. 15
    kdaug says:

    I tend to be a cautious-to-late adopter, too – been burned on the “first out of the gate” thing too many times. Let someone else do the QA/bug-testing and recalibration for me.

    But, I do not have intercoms. Haz jelous.

  16. 16

    Tech question, I am trying decide between getting an IPad and a Samsung Galaxy Note? Any suggestions? And how well do the IPad keyboards work?

  17. 17
    cathyx says:

    @kdaug: Me too. I still have analog TVs. I’m waiting until the price is right and my analogs die.

  18. 18
    🎂 Martin says:

    “I can’t come to your party because I’ve misplaced a pet, my car is in a field, and I’m probably going to be on fire at that time.”

    IOW, just be honest.

  19. 19
    cathyx says:

    @kdaug: Oh yeah, and I still use a VCR to record programs.

  20. 20
    shelly says:

    I remember house phones.

    Good to have a landline lying around in case the power goes out. Which it does around here…a lot.

  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    Didja catch the google doodle today? A salute to the Olympics with rainbow colors and a quote about non-discrimination:

    “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” –Olympic Charter

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:

    @🎂 Martin:
    “I’m sorry. I can’t answer the phone right now because I’m either on my way to the emergency room or being treated for a bizarre injury, but if you’ll leave your name and number, I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I’m healthy enough.”

  23. 23
    🎂 Martin says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: iPad on-screen keyboard works quite well. The 3rd party Android on-screen keyboards often work better for some people, but requires a bit more tech know-how to get and keep working. iPad bluetooth keyboards are plentiful and work very well.

    iPad has much better software overall though. Note has the benefit of better pen input, if you plan on doing a lot of that sort of thing.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    My mom still can’t figure out call waiting.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    I would just like to mention that IT IS FRICKIN’ RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

    You haven’t seen a group of humans more excited by water falling from the sky since caveman days, I swear.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    Bob Costas has a Russian eye disease.

  27. 27

    @🎂 Martin: How about the ease of connecting peripherals?

    ETA: Is there a particular bluetooth enabled keyboard that you like?

  28. 28
    Baud says:


    Yay. Are there a bunch of Californians doing renditions of Singing in the Rain?

  29. 29
    Randy P says:

    Just watched the Colbert interview with P***y Riot which, like most interesting things on the intertubes, I found out about here at BJ.

    It seems pretty clear that they get the joke of Colbert’s shtick and played along with it nicely, but I’m still curious to hear what they thought of the interaction. Is there anything like an English-language Russian blog that might have talked to them?

  30. 30
    HinTN says:

    @the Conster: Channeling Raven

    And she could be jivin’ too

  31. 31
    jl says:

    I think the punch line for this post is that it is not hard at all to find 73 year old people who have a more youthful and flexible outlook towards life, and who are more adaptable to new technology, than Cole, who is in his forties. No offense intended towards blog chief Cole, but everyone knows that.

  32. 32
    Randy P says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hooray. Does it have a chance of being absorbed in the ground and replenishing the water supply? Or how does your water supply work out there? I know here in the Delaware Valley there’s an “aquifer”, water deposits in the bedrock, which had to get gradually recharged when we had a drought about 10 years back.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    HinTN says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: iPad, period! Android phone, also period!

  35. 35
    seaboogie says:

    @Baud: Yep – Pretty much. We’ll have rain here in NorCal through Sunday. It’s like everyone can exhale and finally enjoy a gray day. Folks waxing poetic on the smell of the rain-wet soil and leaves. Yesterday I was all “oh look – a puddle!!!!”.

  36. 36
    raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: They work fine but most have to be charged regularly.

  37. 37
    HinTN says:

    @raven: BB, baby. Just quotin’

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:


    Pretty much. I deliberately went out of the house with no umbrella or jacket this morning to conjure up the rain, so my fellow Angelenos can thank me any time. ;-)


    I’ll trade her, because I’m pretty sure I have this guy living inside my computer.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    cathyx says:

    @HinTN: Got an android phone and hated it. Exchanged it for an iphone, love it. There is nothing intuitive about an android. That’s why I hated it.

  41. 41
    Roger Moore says:

    @Randy P:

    Does it have a chance of being absorbed in the ground and replenishing the water supply? Or how does your water supply work out there?

    We rely on a mix of imported water and wells into shallow water aquifers. Most of the water that winds up in the mountains and foothills will be captured behind dams, which around here are designed to let the water soak in and replenish the aquifers rather than trying to hold it at the surface. A lot of the water that lands on the city will unfortunately be sent straight into our highly channelized, concrete-lined rivers and streams and wind up out in the Pacific before we can do much with it. There are attempts to improve this situation, especially by convincing private property owners to design their properties to soak up water rather than let it run off, but we’ll still lose a lot of the water.

  42. 42
    MikeJ says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I like the android tablets. Keyboards work as you would expect, either bluetooth or usb (which I’ve used at home but wouldn’t lug around with me.)

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    A lot of the water that lands on the city will unfortunately be sent straight into our highly channelized, concrete-lined rivers and streams and wind up out in the Pacific before we can do much with it.

    Well, we’re working on that part. In the Griffith Park/Glendale/Burbank stretch of the river, we already have some nice stands of trees with waterfowl living in them. They even got permission for kayak tours on some stretches.

  44. 44
    the Conster says:


    It’s all good. Some random poster on the internet remembered something your nym may or may not have posted in a comment section on a blog you both read. Win!

  45. 45
    raven says:

    @the Conster: I miss my mom and she was a pain in the butt a lot of the time.

  46. 46
    dww44 says:

    @the Conster: How nice and so true. I miss mine lots and she’s been gone 2 plus years and had dementia the last 6. But she always knew me and lit up when I entered the room.

  47. 47
    muddy says:

    My dad always refused to backup his files, “because something might happen”. Well, yes, that’s the point, groan…

    Not as though I should point fingers I suppose. My son was impressed because I started texting last fall. “It’s cool you can do that now, Mom!”

  48. 48
    Turgidson says:

    I was wary of having a cell phone at first too, for the same reason (why on earth would I want to be available to take calls at all times???). I just decided, cell phone or no, that speaking to me was a privilege, not a right, and I had sole discretion over who was so lucky.

  49. 49

    How do people get around the fact that the IPad does not have any USB support?

  50. 50
    raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: What do you want to do with it?

    “iCloud lets you access your music, photos, documents, and more from whatever device you’re on. It’s easy to set up and use. And with features that give you peace of mind and make sharing simple, iCloud is also great with just one Apple device. “

  51. 51
    muddy says:

    My son sent me this link to Buddy Wakefield’s tribute to his mom, saying it reminded him of me. I was right pleased. The line of “Momma don’t deal in the abridged version…” cracked me right up.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It’s impossible to choose. Just buy both.

  53. 53
    Roger Moore says:

    I’ve walked the Glendale Narrows, but they’re actually doing things the wrong way around. They have never put concrete on the bottom there because there are natural springs that would force their way through the bottom anyway. So we’re losing water there; it’s welling out of the ground and flowing down to the ocean rather than sinking in.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Okay, this comment makes no sense. What are they supposed to be doing differently to make the springs that are welling up sink back into the ground rather than doing what rivers do and flowing to the ocean?

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:

    I was initially wary of getting a cellphone until I discovered that:
    1) It was frustrating to have to avoid using my dial-up internet when I was waiting for a call
    2) I missed meeting friends when I was out doing something because we couldn’t find each other and couldn’t call
    3) I had an emergency response pager that was beeping at inconvenient times and I couldn’t go out and do stuff because I needed to be close to a phone.
    In short, I wanted to be available more often than I was, so being too available was a better option than not being available enough.

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    They could put a dam downstream of the area where the springs are to hold the water until it soaks in. Alternatively, they could aggressively put wells in that area to drain the water table low enough that the water wouldn’t come to the surface. I know the first idea is impractical and don’t know about the second, but I was trying to point out that:
    1) The trees and stuff there are not representative of us finally getting something right. There has never been a concrete bottom in that part of the river because it wouldn’t work.
    2) That area actually represents water coming out of the ground rather than going in, so it’s the opposite of what we would ideally like.

  57. 57
    trollhattan says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    I’ll be getting the 10.1-inch 2014 Galaxy note when the price drifts lower. Good feature set, performance and display.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    So the problem with the LA River is that it needs to be more heavily engineered? Are you sure you don’t have a side job with the Army Corps of Engineers, who were the ones who paved it over in the first place?

  59. 59

    @Baud: Budgetary concerns do not allow me that luxury. Plus I already has two computers.

  60. 60
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Mnemosyne: Engineered =\= paved. Rain gardens work well for damming flow long enough for it to soak in. Diverting the water into a cistern might be feasible. (I have no idea what the soils and water table looks like in that area.) But just letting fresh water run off into the sea in a drought-prone area strikes me as wasteful.

    Divert it and the stormwater to recharge the aquifer. I think I heard something on the radio today about California starting to see subsidence due to aquifer depletion.

  61. 61
    catclub says:

    @Baud: My wife said this morning it looked like he was having a stroke on the air.

  62. 62
    🎂 Martin says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Basically any Bluetooth keyboard should work. Pairing it is very easy. The Logitech keyboard/covers are quite popular. We use the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, which we already had from a previous computer.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    One of the major ironies of Los Angeles is that we’re a drought-prone city built on a flood plain. Basically, the river was encased in concrete in the 1930s to stop it from constantly moving around, but that only made the drought cycle worse. So now there’s a lot of debate about what to do. The Army Corps of Engineers wants to just re-layer concrete over everything, but a lot of people feel that many of the problems we have are directly caused by that initial decision and we shouldn’t double down on it. It’s a very tricky situation locally.

  64. 64
    Bill D. says:

    @Mnemosyne: OMG. The Corps plans do not propose to “re-layer concrete over everything” in the LA river. That claim is very far from the truth. Don’t believe me- Google it. Or, you can start at, a third-party site.

    Full disclosure: I am currently employed by the Corps, but at a different office in a different city. I’m not here to tout my employer, but when a claim is so far from the truth then I may just speak up.

    BTW, I’m a biologist and I’ve worked on four different major tidal marsh restoration projects that have restored or will restore thousands of acres of natural habitat previously damaged or lost due to private development. It’s not like I love concrete or don’t understand the value of ecosystems. When I lived in LA (twice), the channelized nature of the LA River, for which the Corps was responsible, was a continuing source of frustration to me because I knew that so much had been lost by building that kind of project on the river.

    I much prefer natural river channels and floodplains, and my large amount of missing hair is from pulling out so much of it (figuratively) over developments built in the wrong places that constrain efforts to restore natural conditions and processes along our rivers. As Aldo Leopold wrote long ago, “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds”. It’s frustrating when others look at a damaged river and loudly insist that nothing is wrong, since after all there are trees and singing birds to be found there.

    My opinions and judgments expressed here are entirely my own opinions and do not represent or reflect those of the Corps in any way. I only mention my Corps affiliation as a matter of full disclosure since I’m commenting on a Corps project while also a Corps employee.

  65. 65
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Bill D.: Yeah, really. Layering concrete over everything hasn’t been best practice for at least twenty years. Wetland and stream restoration have been big for at least fifteen.

  66. 66
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yay! Now go out & cavort in it.

  67. 67
    Bill D. says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    “Layering concrete over everything” hasn’t been a “best practice” for a lot longer than that, but there are many way stations between pure concrete and a truly ecological design. Plus, in many cases there is a lot of development where it ends up getting to be too expensive to remove enough to really give a river room to do what it needs to do. My wetland restoration projects were/are largely rural, with the past “development” having been draining of wetlands for farming or flooding them for salt production ponds. Urban development is much more difficult to remove, and you do get a lot more bang for the buck by focusing restoration on rural locations where land is a lot cheaper.

  68. 68
    Mark S. says:

    Just use the Mike Royko Answering Machine message: Hi, this is Mike. I’m home right now, but if I wanted to talk to you, I would have called you first. So leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you when hell freezes over.

Comments are closed.